On 1st June 2018, the European Commission published the legislative proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020. Objectives are announced as fairer funding targeting (including limiting payments to 100 000 € per farm), higher environment and climate action objectives (in particular: preserving carbon rich soils such as wetlands, obligatory farm nutrient management tool, crop rotation) and tighter food safety (reducing pesticides, antibiotics). Art. 3 fixes that Member States shall establish a system of “Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients” and this is specified in Annex III “Rules of conditionality” (GAEC 5) – see detail below. The payment conditionality requirements (Annex III) also include (SMR 1) respect of the EU Water Framework Directive (and specifically “Article 11(3)(e) and Article 11(3)(h) as regards mandatory requirements to control diffuse sources of pollution by phosphates”) and (SMR 2) respect of the EU Nitrates Directive, as well as (GAEC 4) buffer strips (both within and outside Nitrate Directive Vulnerable Zones), tillage management (GAEC 6) and no bare soil in most sensitive periods (GAEC 7). Nutrients are also included in the CAP indicators (Annex I): “I.15 Improving water quality: Gross nutrient balance on agricultural land” and “1.16 Reducing nutrient leakage: Nitrate in ground water - Percentage of ground water stations with N concentration over 50 mg/l as per the Nitrate directive”.
In Annex III, footnote 2, it is specified that the Farm Sustainability Tool for Nutrients “shall provide at least for the following elements and functionalities”:
- Relevant farm information based on LPIS and IACS (Integrated Administration and Control System and Land Parcel Identification System);
- Information from the soil sampling, on an appropriate spatial and temporal scale;
- Information on relevant management practices, crop history, and yield goals;
- Indications regarding legal limits and requirements relevant to farm nutrients management;
- A complete nutrient budget.
- Automatic integration of data from various sources (LPIS and IACS, farmer-generated data, soil analyses etc.) as far as possible, to avoid data input duplication for farmers;
- Two-way communication between PA/MAs and farmers allowed;
- Modularity and possibility to support further sustainability objectives (e.g. emissions management, water management)
- Respect of EU data inter-operability, openness and re-use principles;
- Guarantees for data security and privacy in line with best current standards.
The CAP legislative proposal will now go to discussion by European Parliament and Council, a process in which stakeholders (including ESPP) will make input and representations.
* Annex III conditionality definitions: SMR = Statutory Management Requirement and GAEC = Standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land
Legislative text proposal for a Regulation “establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the Common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) …” COM(2018) 392 final and 2018/0216 (COD), 1st June 2018 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2018%3A392%3AFIN and presentation page https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy/future-cap_en